Pets have a special bond with Graves, whose chain is named after his yellow Labrador Retriever Raising Cane.
For the meaty part of his business vision, chicken was just the right protein at the right time.
“Boneless chicken outlets began popping up in the 1990s,” Graves said. “And when it came to chicken, people in general beat red meat so badly.
“It was a media trend and topic to beat up red meat. I thought to myself, ‘This is going to be a nation of chicken-eaters.’ It was a good thing to get in. “
Raising Cane’s has more than 560 restaurants in 31 states, with 75 new locations and 20 first-time markets planned for 2021. To stand out from a crowded chicken market that includes Chik-fil-A, KFC, and Popeye’s, Graves decided to specialize.
“People will go to our competitors,” he said. “They’re going to get bone-in chicken on a Monday. You get Cane’s for Chicken Fingers on a Wednesday. You will get a chicken sandwich elsewhere this weekend. The good thing about chicken is that people eat it all the time.
“I just think you have to focus on what you are good at and not try to be everything for everyone. That’s why I like our menu concept, which only focuses on the Chicken Finger Meal. It’s proof of what we did. It hasn’t changed in 25 years. That is part of our success. “